Shulman Rogers’ Family Law Attorneys are widely recognized as premier family law practitioners in the trial and appellate courts throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Our lawyers are adept at settlement negotiations, drafting agreements, mediating cases, presenting contested cases in court and arguing appeals. Our team lectures, writes and presents on family law issues throughout the region to members of the public and to other lawyers, professionals and judges. Our lawyers are regularly mentioned as leaders in the field by such publications as Washingtonian Magazine, Bethesda Magazine, Best Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, AVVO and Worth Magazine.
We realize that each case has its own specific and unique needs, so we work to craft a client-centered approach to each individual matter. Our attorneys recognize the intimate and sensitive nature of family-law cases and are committed to preserving each client’s confidentiality and privacy.
When alternative dispute resolution is inappropriate or unsuccessful, litigation may be needed to resolve family law disputes. Even though cases often settle before trial, litigation starts with the filing of a lawsuit and typically involves formal written discovery, depositions and other court procedures. Our lawyers always strive to help clients avoid the cost (financial and emotional) of litigation, although in some cases, litigation is appropriate or inevitable.
When litigation is unavoidable, our lawyers have decades of trial and appellate experience, and they bring a straightforward results-oriented approach. Many law firms take a technical approach to litigation. Our attorneys also take a tactical approach. No single strategy is appropriate for every court case, and the lawyers in our Family Law team are particularly adept at developing strategies uniquely suited to each individual client.
Our Family Law team can help you successfully resolve your divorce and separation matters in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
Maryland law provides for absolute divorce and limited divorce. Absolute divorce terminates the parties’ marital relationship and the legal rights and obligations related to marriage, such as the right to inherit. An absolute divorce also restores the right to remarry. Normally, as part of an absolute divorce, all issues arising out of the parties’ marriage have to be resolved, either by agreement of the parties or court order. In addition, one of the parties must have a viable ground (a good enough legal reason) for absolute divorce. Maryland recognizes no-fault and fault grounds for absolute divorce.
No-fault grounds for absolute divorce include:
- 12 months of separation, if the parties have lived separate and apart continuously and without interruption or cohabitation; or
- Mutual consent, if both parties have signed a written agreement that resolves all issues and certain other conditions are met.
Fault grounds for absolute divorce include:
- Desertion (if desertion has continued for 12 continuous months)
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor where the party has been sentenced to serve at least 3 years and has served 12 months to date
- Insanity (if the spouse has been institutionalized for at least 3 years and is deemed “incurable”)
- Cruelty of treatment
- Excessively vicious conduct
When there are no grounds for an absolute divorce, Maryland courts can sometimes order a limited divorce. A limited divorce can allow the court to address some of the pressing issues in dispute, including the ownership of personal property. Limited divorce also allows the parties to file tax returns as single, and it can start the divorce procedure before 12 months of separation if the parties are unable to obtain mutual consent. As part of a limited divorce, the court may address issues such as custody, support and use of the family home. In a limited divorce, parties remain married and the court does not determine the division of marital property.
To consult with a member of our Family Law team about issues related to your divorce in MD, VA or DC, contact us.
We routinely deliver successful results for our clients in matters involving:
- Complex Property and Debt Distribution Issues: This includes cases involving community or separate property interests in family businesses, privately held companies, partnerships, stock options and other executive compensation arrangements, professional practices, unique investment vehicles, collectibles, spousal support (alimony payments), and debt division.
- Contested Child Custody: Divorces and relocation cases involving child custody disputes can be complex and difficult, often times involving court appointed professionals or investigators whose findings and opinions can significantly impact the case. Once set in motion, the findings and orders entered by the court can be very difficult to reverse or change in the future. Many of our attorneys are proficient in representing clients in contested child custody matters and dedicated to the protection of mothers’ and fathers’ rights.
- Gray Divorce: We can address the unique issues that arise when one or both parties in a divorce are over the age of 50.
- Military Divorce: This includes addressing military retirement benefits and processing service for deployed military personnel.
- International Divorce: We can handle divorces that include unique challenges in identifying, valuing, and distributing community and separate property located in countries outside of the US, as well as international treaties that govern child custody determinations, collection of child support, and enforcement of judgments.
- Gay and Lesbian Divorce: Our firm has represented members of the LGBT community for over twenty years, and we have always been staunch supporters of universal marriage equality.
- Divorce Resolved Through Alternative Dispute Resolution: Most divorce cases are settled out of court using a form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration, collaborative divorce, or cooperative divorce. All forms require successful negotiation skills and strategy. In representing our clients, we negotiate from a position of strength, which has proven to be the most successful negotiation strategy for more than 20 years.
- High Conflict Divorce Litigation: Most divorce cases are resolved by agreement between the parties, but some are not. For high conflict cases or cases that go to trial, it is critical for the law firm you hire to have experienced, proven divorce litigators. Our firm’s lawyers are among the most experienced, proven divorce litigators in the communities we serve and have been for over twenty years.
Our clients receive exceptional personal service, support, and strategies tailored to their unique needs.